Articles From Our Weekly Church Bulletins

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

On the Two Thieves Crucified with Jesus 
A reflection by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon 
(Daily Reflections, Friday, November 26)

Referring to the two thieves who died on either side of Jesus, St. Mark records that "those who were crucified with Him reviled Him" (15:32). At least they did so for some time. During the course of the afternoon, however, one of them came to think better of the matter, as he watched our Lord hang there in patience, praying for His enemies. 

This profoundly moving scene is best considered, I believe, within both its immediate and its wider context in the Gospel of Luke. Three considerations suggest themselves with respect to Luke's immediate context. First, this scene with the thieves is the second of three times that Jesus is pronounced innocent. Pilate and Herod make the first pronouncement (23:14ø15), and the third will issue from the lips of the centurion under the Cross (23:47). This verdict of the second thief, then, is added to the chorus of those who profess Jesus to be executed unjustly (23:41). (click here to continue reading....)

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Water Rescue - On the Ark of Noah, and the Ark of Moses
A reflection by Fr. Patrick H. Reardon

    Even from apostolic times the Church has regarded the ark of Noah as a symbol rich in theological significance. St. Peter himself spoke of it in terms of salvation, referring to “the ark . . . in which a few, that is eight souls, were saved (diesothesan) through water.” He went on to speak of “an antitype which now saves (sozei) us: baptism” (1 Pet. 3:20–21). The Epistle to the Hebrews similarly treated of the ark in reference to salvation, saying that Noah “prepared an ark for the saving (soteria) of his household” (Heb. 11:7).

    Early Christian testimonies to this understanding follow suit.  For example, in the second century Justin Martyr saw the ark as a symbol of the Cross.  In the third century Cyprian of Carthage affirmed that "the one ark of Noah was a figure of the one Church" during the flood, that "baptism of the world in which it was purified and redeemed  (click here to continue reading....)

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Do You Know God?
From a reflection by Fr. Stephen Freeman

    Knowing God is much closer to knowing how to ride a bicycle than it is to knowing the multiplication table. God is not a fact – but neither is riding a bicycle. The insight of Orthodox Christianity, derived from Scripture and the “Traditioned” life of the Church, is that we know God through communion with Him. Christ’s words to His Father are filled with reference to this communion:

Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:24-26)  (click here to continue reading....)

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

You Are Not Your Sin
Fr. Stephen Freeman

    No human being is evil by nature. We are created fundamentally good (even "very good" in the language of Genesis). And though we may do many things, and many things may be done to us, none of them change "who we are." Sin is not a constitutive part of our existence. It is extra-human, and external to our nature.

I recently cited St. Gregory of Nyssa in this regard:

"In any and every case evil must be removed out of existence, so that, as we said above, the absolutely non-existent should cease to be at all. Since it is not in its nature that evil should exist outside the will, does it not follow that when it shall be that every will rests in God, evil will be reduced to complete annihilation, owing to no receptacle being left for it?" (click here to continue reading....)

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

What is an icon?

An icon is an image (usually two dimensional) of Christ, the Saints, Angels, important biblical events, parables, or events in the history of the Church.

St. Gregory the Dialogist (Pope of Rome, +604), spoke of icons as being Scripture to the illiterate: “For what writing presents to readers, this a picture presents to the unlearned who behold, since in it even the ignorant see what they ought to follow; in it the illiterate read.”

Icons also lift up our minds from earthly things to the heavenly. St. John of Damascus wrote, “we are led by perceptible Icons to the contemplation of the divine and spiritual.”  And by keeping their memory before us through the icons, we are also inspired to imitate the holiness of those therein depicted. St. Gregory of Nyssa (+395) spoke of how he could not pass an Icon of Abraham sacrificing Isaac “without tears.” Commenting on this, it was noted at the Seventh Ecumenical Council, “If to so eminent a Teacher the picture was helpful and drew forth tears, how much more in the case of the ignorant and simple will it bring compunction and benefit.” (click here to continue reading....)

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

An Excerpt from "Wounded By Love: The Life and Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios"

On Illness - I feel illness as the love of Christ
'My Christ, Your love knows no limits!'

I thank God for granting me many illnesses. I often say to Him: 'My Christ, Your love knows no limits!' How I am alive is a miracle. Among all my other illnesses I also have cancer of the pituitary gland. A tumour appeared there which has grown and presses against the optic nerve. That's why I don't see any more. I am in dreadful pain. But I pray, taking up the Cross of Christ with patience. Have you seen what my tongue is like? It has grown; it's not as it used to be. That's also a result of the cancer I've got in my head. And as time goes on, things will get worse. It will grow even more and I'll have difficulty in speaking. I'm in great pain, but my illness is something very beautiful. I feel it as the love of Christ. I am given compunction and I give thanks to God. It is on account of my sins. I am sinful and God is trying to purify me. (click here to continue reading...)


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